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Waveney's extraordinary council meeting

PUBLISHED: 09:56 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:49 01 August 2010

AN extraordinary council meeting has been called in Waveney to decide whether to reconsider proposals for a wind turbine project after it emerged that a member who voted against it broke council rules.

AN extraordinary council meeting has been called in Waveney to decide whether to reconsider proposals for a wind turbine project after it emerged that a member who voted against it broke council rules.

Chris Punt, who was portfolio holder for finance for Waveney District Council, quit his cabinet post following complaints after he spoke and voted against the application without declaring that he lived in the parish, or worked for a firm that could be affected by the outcome.

Mr Punt was standing in as a substitute for a fellow member at the development control meeting when a bid by Bernard Matthews to build five turbines on a former airfield at Holton, near Halesworth was refused.

All 48 councillors are being invited to the meeting at the town hall on Thursday, November 12 to discuss the matter, which is the sole item on the agenda. A report by monitoring officer Arthur Charvonia that has been sent to members states that they must determine whether the decision on the wind turbine application, taken on October 21, contravened the rule of law.

In the report Mr Charvonia advises that it did so, and that the decision is therefore open to successful judicial review and/or appeal. He recommends that the decision is revoked and re-sent to the next available development control committee meeting for full reconsideration.

His report reads: “It is essential to the effectiveness of local government, and local planning, that decisions made by the council are open, transparent and can be trusted as being free from any personal interest and/or influence.

“All such decisions must be based both actually, and seen to be based, upon sound planning grounds and considerations.”

The extraordinary meeting was called because rules state that the report must be considered within 21 days of it being sent to members and the next full council meeting would have fallen outside that timeframe.

As monitoring officer, Mr Charvonia has made a complaint to the council's standards committee that Mr Punt breached the councillor code of conduct. The complaint will initially be considered in private by an assessment sub-committee of the standards committee on November 10.

A council spokesman said it was not known if there was sufficient time to include the wind turbine application on the agenda for the next development control meeting on November 18 should councillors agree with Mr Charvonia's recommendation.

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